Research Task One
This document MUST be read in conjunction with the assessment paper.
You have been tasked with advising a government committee about allowing serving prisoners to vote. A serving prisoner is a person who has been convicted of a criminal offence and is serving a custodial sentence.
In England and Wales serving prisoners are prohibited from voting under section 3 Representation of the People Act 1983 (as amended by the Representation of the People Act 1985).
Forbidding a prisoner from voting is known as criminal disenfranchisement. Jurisdictions across the world take different approaches. For example:
You have been tasked with advising a committee by:
Your investigation into criminal disenfranchisement should be limited to whether serving prisoners should be given the right to vote. There are different categories of prisoners. It is up to you how you define prisoners. For example, you could limit by offence type or include all prisoners. You will need to be able to justify your definition.
Before you begin your research you should consider Horne A., and White, I., ‘Prisoners’ Voting Rights’ (2015, The House of Commons Standard Note SN/PC/017).
Before you present your findings to the committee, you will need to design a 1000 word research proposal which covers:
Your research proposal should follow the structure given in the Assignment Question document under the Assessment tab on the Module Homepage.
Your legal research methodology should include an examination of how you will compare the position in England and Wales with the position in at least ONE other jurisdiction.
There is no requirement to include empirical research in your proposal. If you are planning to include empirical research in your proposal this must be authorized by your module tutor.
Your examination should include any relevant statute, consultations, reports, draft Bills, articles or cases and where appropriate the legal effect of these.